Quantcast

Posts Tagged ‘Eels’

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

These Streets Will Never Look the Same

Review of Chromatics’ Kill For Love

Photo By Richard BernardinRichard BernardinAs someone who is ostensibly in the business of finding and sharing new music, it’s a bit embarrassing that I’m just getting around to covering Portland’s Chromatics now. And I didn’t just miss out on their latest effort, Kill For Love, since it was released back in March. The whole Johnny Jewel extended family of Glass Candy, Desire, what have you, the extensive Italians Do It Better catalog, the fact that “Tick Of The Clock” from 2007’s Night Drive is apparently omnipresent in film soundtracks and ads. No idea of any of it. All I knew was that people around the internets really seemed to like Kill For Love, that it sounded like the sort of thing I might like, and so a few months ago I finally got around to giving the Soundcloud stream a spin.

Damn, son.

I’ve seen Kill For Love described as disco, noir, electro, retro, indie, post-punk, and dream-pop, amongst other descriptors – almost always coupled with “cinematic” and “widescreen” – and it is all of these things and more, but what gets me about it is how it manages to be so impossibly slick and synthetic, yet raw and resonant in a way that I can’t pinpoint. It operates under its own laws of emotional physics, simultaneously unending neon, urban sprawl and intense, almost smothering intimacy. Sometimes making its 77 minute running time feel like an eternity, other times a half a blink, all depending on how you’re feeling.

It works its magic through Jewel’s impossibly glamorous production, all perfectly textured keyboards and sculpted waveforms, gleaming guitars, and layered atmosphere, and singer/guitarist Ruth Radelet’s voice. In keeping with the music, it’s a study in contradictions – superficially simple in both timbre and the melodies it carries, and yet so rich and evocative, it can’t help but make a body shiver; it sounds like sex but tastes like love with the scent of regret. And while singling out specifics, I should mention that I don’t often get obsessed with individual guitar tones anymore, there’s a high probability that I’ll be breaking into the band’s studio sometime in the near future just to see what the hell Adam Miller is playing through. I probably shouldn’t have admitted that in public. Each full listen of Kill For Love is a pretty major commitment, but always worth it and offering up something new each time out.

Most likely, none of this is news to anyone who’s been following the music zeitgeist this year; the only reason I’m putting this down as a matter of record now is so that I don’t find myself justifying the appearance of a record on my year-end list (ooh, spoilers!) that I’ve never so much as mentioned. Though maybe that’d be kind of fun, too. So yes, late to the party but it’s been ongoing all year – just recently, a new mixtape entitled Running From The Sun containing alternate versions of Kill For Love tracks and unreleased tracks was made available to download, and just this week they released a new MP3 and video from the forthcoming Italians Do It Better label sampler After Dark 2, due out before the end of the year. And it’s also a small comfort to know that I didn’t miss a local live date, since there hasn’t been one. Maybe next year.

Johnny Jewel is a pretty interesting interview, as well. I’ve been catching up on his and the band’s background via these pieces from over the year at The Quietus, Self-Titled, Pitchfork, and about.com. There was also a recent interview with Radelet at The Huffington Post.

MP3: Chromatics – “Cherry”
MP3: Chromatics – “Kill For Love”
MP3: Chromatics / Running From The Sun
Video: Chromatics – “Cherry”
Video: Chromatics – “After Dark”
Stream: Chromatics / Kill For Love

New York post-hardcore outfit Quicksand are the latest ’90s act to pull a reunion together, heading out on a North American tour that comes to The Phoenix on January 9, tickets $29.

Video: Quicksand – “Delusional”

With a new album in Wonderful, Glorious due out on February 5, Eels have announced a North American tour that brings them to The Phoenix on February 25.

Stream: Eels – “Peach Blossom”

City Pages and Reverb interview Paul Banks in the capacity of both solo artist and Interpol frontman. The 10th anniversary Turn On The Bright Lights deluxe set is out December 4.

NPR welcomes Calexico to the World Cafe.

Monday, April 4th, 2011

Kaputt

Destroyer and The War On Drugs at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangDan Bejar has been Destroyer for a very long time. Since 1995, according to Wikipedia, and in the past 16 years or so he’s put out ten or more albums – depending on your precise definition of an official release – many/most to great acclaim though usually from different corners as his habit of dramatically shifting styles from one album to the next seems to alienate as many as it attracts. So it’s interesting that his least conventionally Destroyer record to date – the smooth jazz/lounge synth and horn-heavy Kaputt – should be the one that has garnered the most universal acclaim. And so it was that while past Destroyer shows would draw respectably, their Thursday night show at Lee’s Palace would be completely sold out and even had scalpers out front. Scalpers for Destroyer.

Tourmates for this outing were Philadelphia’s The War On Drugs, who despite having been around for a few years themselves were perhaps best known for being Kurt Vile’s old band. But if Vile can find an audience then there’s no reason that his old bandmates can’t as well, as there’s a fair bit in common between the two and personally, I found The War On Drugs more interesting. They operate within fairly narrow stylistic margins – there’s a lot of repetitiveness and a general aversion to chord changes – but frontman Adam Granducie’s stream-of-consciousness vocals and shimmering, psych-country guitar excursions offered plenty of musical terrain to explore within them.

The last time I saw Destroyer was at SxSW 2008, circa Trouble In Dreams, and it was a performance that did nothing to improve Bejar’s reputation as a non-fan of playing live but still managed to be a fascinating and memorable show. So with that as a benchmark, the mind boggled at what sort of impression he could make if he actually seemed to care, and given that this tour would see him fronting an epic-sized eight-piece band – his last visit in 2009 was a solo show – it was pretty safe to say that this time out, he cared.

And to answer the earlier question up front: Destroyer made an amazing impression. With horns, guitars, keys, female backing vox at his disposal, the slickness of Kaputt was roughed and sped up in an excellent manner, with the smooth horns of the recordings turning tense and unsettling at points and contributing mightily to the sheer density of sound emanating onstage. Destroyer was sounding huge and Bejar, rarely speaking but still speaking more than usual, would frequently squat down in the centre of the stage with eyes closed, drink in hand and half-smile on his face like an audience member with the best seat in the house.

Given the musical configuration, I’d have expected the show to lean almost exclusively on Kaputt but the set list reached back as far as Your Blues through Destroyer’s Rubies and Trouble, the selections all largely recast in the Kaputt aesthetic and proving that Destroyer songs are as infinitely malleable as the Destroyer identity itself. For the encore, they tackled the epic-length single and Kaputt-closer “Bay Of Pigs”, and despite having lyrics sheets on hand for reference, didn’t make it through without a couple of flubs – not that that’s any grounds for criticism, it was actually pretty endearing to see Bejar crack up, even a little. Some may take some issue with The Guardian declaring Destroyer – who as an entity is almost old enough to drive – as a “new band” but there’s a genuine sense that with Kaputt, they’ve arrived and this show proved that also goes for the live experience.

Exclaim reports that one of Destroyer’s early sort-of-but-not-really albums is being reissued on vinyl – copies were actually available for sale at the merch table – and Metro and Madison.com have interview with Dan Bejar. Panic Manual and Chart also have reviews of the show.

Photos: Destroyer, The War On Drugs @ Lee’s Palace – March 31, 2011
MP3: Destroyer – “Chinatown”
MP3: Destroyer – “Dark Leaves Form A Thread”
MP3: Destroyer – “It’s Gonna Take An Airplane”
MP3: Destroyer – “The Sublimation Hour”
MP3: Destroyer – “Trembling Peacock”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “Taking The Farm”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “Comin’ Through”
MP3: The War On Drugs – “The History Of Plastic”
Video: Destroyer – “Kaputt”

Philadelphian psych-rockers Asteroid #4 have made a date at The Boat for April 29 in support of their new record Hail To The Clear Figurines.

MP3: Asteroid #4 – “Ignition Slated For Eight”
MP3: Asteroid #4 – “Wild Opal Eyes”

Just here a month ago, Telekinesis will be coming back to town next month as support for Portugal. The Man’s May 27 show at Lee’s Palace. They’ve also put out a spanking new video from 12 Desperate Staight Lines and are the subject of features at The Georgia Straight and The AV Club.

Video: Telekinesis – “Please Ask For Help”

David Bazan has announced a May 24 release date for his new record Strange Negotiations and accompanying tour, which includes a June 14 date at Lee’s Palace.

MP3: David Bazan – “Bless This Mess”

Having sold out Lee’s Palace this past weekend, Los Angeles’ Foster The People have already scheduled a return engagement for June 18 at the Mod Club. Their debut Torches is due out May 24. The Pitch and San Francisco Chronicle have interviews with the band.

MP3: Foster The People – “Pumped Up Kicks”

Eels have put together an extensive Summer tour and will be at Lee’s Palace on August 1. They’re also giving away a 3-song sampler of recent works in exchange for an email address – sign up on their tour page.

New York Magazine and The AV Club pay excellent tribute to the now-defunct LCD Soundsystem, while The Feast asks Nancy Whang what it’s like to be hanging it up. You can watch the entirety of their almost four-hour farewell performance from Saturday night on YouTube. Get comfy.

The National have made a video for their soundtrack contribution to the forthcoming film Win Win.

Video: The National – “Think You Can Wait”

Low’s new record C’Mon is now available to stream in its entirety at The Guardian in advance of its release next Tuesday. They play The Mod Club on May 1.

Stream: Low / C’Mon

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with Janelle Monáe.

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Hurrah

Versus return

Photo By Frank YangMySpaceToday’s a day off from the real job, but not the fake job – this job – and the start of a four-day weekend, so you’ll excuse me if this post is a touch… random. I’ve got a stack of links including a bunch of new videos for your viewing pleasure, but no particular focus so I’ll just wade in with what is, to me at least, the most important of them all.

Which is the first MP3 from the first new Versus album in a decade – hell, the last time there was a new Versus album, there wasn’t such a phrase as “the first MP3 from”. I only twigged onto the New York outfit after their last record, 2000’s Hurrah, had run its course and their decade-long hiatus was just underway. Collecting their back catalog kept me occupied for a good while – turning up their super-rare debut EP Let’s Electrify! in the bins of Sonic Boom is a particularly fond memory – as did their various side-projects, but I couldn’t help feeling like I’d missed the boat on a great band, mainly because I had.

But sporadic shows over the past decade kept the hopes that they’d be back eventually alive, and those hopes will become reality on August 3 with the release of On The Ones and Threes, available on CD and as a double-LP with a different running order and two extra tracks. For full details and pre-order information, head over to Merge Records, for the first taste of the new album, click below and for tour dates, stay tuned. Because they’re coming.

MP3: Versus – “Invincible Hero”

Dean & Britta’s contribution to the just-released Sing Me To Sleep compilation of “indie lullabies” is now available to download. Despite the questionable concept, the record has brought together a pretty impressive lineup of talent.

MP3: Dean & Britta – “Making Me Smile”

Filter thinks you should already know Ted Leo. He and his Pharmacists are at Lee’s Palace on June 26.

Matt Berninger of The National talks politics and High Violet with The Huffington Post.

NOW, Time Out New York and The Fly have features on LCD Soundsystem, who play The Kool Haus on May 25. They’ve also just released a video for a non-album track (and cover).

Video: LCD Soundsystem – “Bye Bye Bayou”

North County Times talks to Nada Surf frontman Matthew Caws, who offers Spinner some advice for up-and-coming bands: get a day job. They’ve got a new video for their Bill Fox cover from if i had a hi fi, out June 8.

Video: Nada Surf – “Electrocution”

Which seques nicely into the new video from Drive-By Truckers, which offers a less positive take on the idea of punching the clock.

Video: Drive-By Truckers – “Working This Job”

James Mercer tells Billboard that he’s about ready to get back to work on The Shins but that Broken Bells wasn’t necessarily a one-off effort. They (Broken Bells) will be at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on June 2.

Spinner talks to Josh Ritter.

The National Post, Vancouver Sun, Metro and Clash talk to Ben Bridwell of Band Of Horses, while Spinner spends some time with guitarist Tyler Ramsey. They are at the Toronto Islands on June 19.

Thao with The Get Down Stay Down have released a new video/Oxfam PSA. They’ll be at The Horseshoe on June 26.

Video: Thao with The Get Down Stay Down – “Body”

Eels will release their new record Tomorrow Morning on August 24 and tour it to through the Mod Club on September 29.

Exclaim has the details on the deluxe reissue edition of R.E.M.’s Fables Of The Reconstruction, due out July 13. In addition to the remastered 1985 album, there’ll be a second CD of unreleased period-correct demos and goodies.

The Drums reveal to Exclaim that their self-titled debut will be out on June 14 in digital and vinyl form, and then CD come September.

Video: The Drums – “Forever & Ever Amen”

The Colorado Springs Independent profiles Laura Marling, who will be back in the southern Ontario area on July 23, performing in Guelph on the first night of Hillside.

Prefix has an interview with Kate Nash.

Mogwai have announced that the DVD of their live concert film Burning will come accompanied with a live record entitled Special Moves, and both will be available on August 24. Head over to the Special Moves website for more information.

eye, NOW, Uptown and Vue talk to The Sadies about their new record Darker Circles, from which they’ve just released a new video and for which they’ll be playing a record release show at Lee’s Palace on Saturday. They’re also at Harbourfront Centre on Canada Day, July 1.

Video: The Sadies – “Postcards”

Also with a new video are Tokyo Police Club, whose Champ hits stores on June 8. They are opening up for Spoon and The Flaming Lips at the Molson Amphitheatre on July 8.

Video: Tokyo Police Club – “Breakneck Speed”

Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning talk to Exclaim about why Pavement was the perfect choice to join them at the Toronto Island Concert on June 19, and Canning gives Toronto Life a list of his favourite things. Spinner has also posted up an Interface session with the band.

Fucked Up frontman Damian Abraham talks influences with Spinner, and just generally talks to The Georgia Straight, Vue and See. They play a free show at the Toronto Reference Library next Friday, May 28. It’s unticketed and doors are at 7:30, so plan accordingly.

Dog Day have released a new vid from last year’s Concentration. And why not grab the MP3 while you’re at it.

MP3: Dog Day – “Rome”
Video: Dog Day – “Rome”

Pitchfork gets a guest list from The New Pornographers’ Carl Newman. They’re at the Sound Academy on June 15.

eye talks to The Weakerthans, who play the Horseshoe as a benefit for Library Voices on Tuesday and then the Queen Elizabeth Theatre on Wednesday.

The Chicago Tribune talks to Jace Lasek of The Besnard Lakes; they’re at the Mod Club on June 17 for NXNE.

BaebleMusic has a Guest Apartment session and The Daily Growl a quick word with Woodpigeon.

Chart talks to Dan Mangan about his song “Robots”, which they declare the “best song ever” for the moment.

Comic Book Resources talks to Bryan Lee-O’Malley about Scott Pilgrim’s Finest Hour, the final book in the Scott Pilgrim saga coming July 20, and the Scott Pilgrim vs The World film, out August 13.

And that’s the link hopper cleared out for today. I am going back to sleep.